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What's up with non-recyclable pots?

Posted by minerva Ontario (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 2, 06 at 18:43

I just don't understand why, in an industry that caters to earth loving people, the majority of planters, pots and trays are NOT recyclable! Do we need to be more militant in demanding that the growers get with the program? I've talked to a number of garden centres and they're not the problem. In fact the ones I frequent are doing their best to reuse and recycle everything they can. It breaks my heart to have a huge bag of "plastic" going out in the garbage every season.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

In Sudbury, Ontario, we now can dispose of plastic containers in our blue boxes.

RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

That's a good point. Why don't they create more of those fiber pots for use. Mine lasted over 2 years before it began to disintegrate. What's more it's good for the compost pile.


RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

Well Minerva, you made me educate myself this evening! I always thought that if the plastic had a triangle, it could go in that blue bag, but that's not the case.

In our municipality, only plastics with the number one or two in the triangle can go in the blue bag. Numbers 3, 4, and 5 are not allowed and I've been throwing them in there.

In any case, I won't put pots in the garbage unless they are really broken. I do a lot of winter sowing and since my gardens are hitting the five year mark, I've started giving away divisions so I need pots all the time. Neighbours bring them to me all the time and I give them plants in return.

So, in essence, I guess I'm the recycler.

We also have a local chain of garden centers which if you bring their pots back, they will give you five cents off for every pot. Their name is clearly marked on the pots. They've proven that it is a possible concept for nurseries/chain stores.

As an example, the chain which carries the President's Choice brand name could very well impliment such a program with their Gigantico brand name pots. All it takes is initiative...

RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

One could also try to 'Freecycle' the pots (Freecycle website). I have picked up a bunch that way, as well as gotten rid of others I didn't want.

Those styro annual and veggie trays are the ones that really get me irked. They're not recyclable in my area, and no one wants them. I now refuse to buy anything in them, even if it's something I really want. I just go home and vent :-)

In theory they're all recyclable, it's just that the facilities to do so don't exist in all areas.


RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

I have a small homebased nursery. I try to keep costs down so I can pass the savings on to customers. I now absolutely refuse to accept used pots unless they are from my sales. For years I would go out to the greenhouse and would find these wonderful bags of used pots someone felt I certainly could recycle.(always dropped off after business hours) What a joke. They were mostly broken cell packs and 4 inch pots that had been sorely abused. I ended up having to pay to dispose of these pots. I even had some people who never spent a dime at my place get hostile because I wouldn't take their garbage. From a growers point of view it is more expensive to sort and sterilize used pots then it is to buy new. Sad but true.

RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

Hi Minerva
You asked if we need to be more militant about demanding recyclable pots. The short answer is yes.
Presumably, it is difficult to recycle pots because of chemical contamination from fertilizers and pesticides, etc.
So, perhaps gardeners need to start there. Gardeners need to support "green" businesses and small nurseries, where their demands actually have some impact on what and how a particular plant is grown.
If box stores start losing business because their product isn't "green" enough, believe me, they'll sit up and take notice.

RE: What's up with non-recyclable pots?

Years ago when I would go to a store to buy plants, I would bring my own pot and ask the salesperson to transfer the plant into it and let them dispose of their pot. After I have done that a few times, the store manager came to me and I explained my concerns regarding their store not making a point to buy from suppliers that use recyclable pots. What that has done is that now the local stores are 'competing' to advertise that they only buy from suppliers that offer reclyclable pots. Some even offer their clients to do transfer the plants in their own pots and the store returns the pots to the nurseries for them to reuse. That way not only the pots are recyclable but they are used again by the nurseries. Make a point to inform stores managers/owners (nto the salesperson) that you will not buy their plants if they are not in recyclable containers. When 20 clients in the same day mention that and leave the store without buying a thing, the management/owner usually will make changes. If we do not say a thing, they will not know/care why we leave the store empty handed.

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